Joyride

JoyrideJoyride by Anna Banks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was wonderful. I have to say I wasn’t expecting all that much. I found The Syrena Legacy books to be just okay and didn’t really understand why the third one was written in the first place. But Anna Banks is from my hometown and she went to my high school, so I will always be super excited to read her latest release.

The book takes place in Florida. The town is never specifically mentioned, but it’s obviously a mix of Niceville and the surrounding areas (where the author is from). It was super weird to read about the Goodwill, high school, the skate park (which I live really close to and drive by several times a day!), the local mall, and a popular restaurant described. It was super cool though and almost made the book even more real to me because I could truly see what the author did when she was writing it. Very, very cool.

This isn’t your typical high school romance. It delves deeper than that. Carly is the daughter of illegal immigrants who were deported, leaving her to live with her older brother, Julio. Both children work tirelessly to earn enough money to smuggle their parents and 2 siblings they have never met back over the border. Since she is always working the graveyard shift at a convenience store or studying (so she can get a scholarship) Carly has pretty much been robbed of a childhood. By chance, she meets Arden, a popular attractive schoolmate with issues and secrets of his own, and they become reluctant friends.

I adored this book. I loved how Arden slowly convinced Carly to be his friend and how they very slowly and reluctantly fell in love. The supporting characters were lovely- especially Uncle Cletus/Mr. Shackleford. It was super refreshing to read about a young romance where the characters had real issues that aren’t usually written about. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book about immigration like this before. I loved how Carly struggled to balance her new desire to enjoy and live her own life with her need to support her family and live up to their expectations.

The book was also really unpredictable. I was surprised, multiple times, by the direction it took. I caught myself saying, “No way!” out loud several times while reading. I loved it!

It was so hard not to hate Julio and the rest of Carlotta’s family for the pressure they put on her and the way she was treated, but I did- I hated them. A lot. It was hard, I liked Carly so much that I wanted to like her family. I wanted to be able to see past all their faults and be like they love her. They just want everyone to be together. Unfortunately, as the story progressed, it became more and more clear that they were taking advantage and soon Carly’s only option would be to abandon ship. It’s like when you have a friend with a husband that’s kind of crap, but used to be good to her. They have small children so you want to see it work out, but at some point it’s just too toxic. She’s got to leave him, because even though it’s going to suck and be super sad, it’ll be better for her in the end. Carly’s family situation was truly tragic. She had no quick solutions or really any way to solve the problem. All options were terrible options. No way to fix anything without a lot of heartbreak on the way. Banks did an incredible job bringing this to life. My heart hurt so badly for Carly during any interactions with her family members or when she was being sacrificial for their benefit. I wanted to scoop her up and make it better, but really, there was no way to do so. I am not a wizard.

Every once in a while there was a line or two in this book that made me stop reading, take a deep breath, and say wow. Every once in a while Banks truly blew my mind with the words she wrote.

Also: Arden, what a babe.

Two complaints:
1) I didn’t feel like I ever got a very clear picture of what the characters looked like. Arden has green eyes and Carly’s hair is black, but I could never fully picture them other than that. I wish there had been more descriptive cues so I wouldn’t have had to fill in the blanks myself.
2) The POV switch was painful. Why was Carly’s perspective first person and Arden’s third? Horrible. I hated this. The entire books should have been written in first person. The switch was so awkward. With every switch, I was taken out of the story and had to readjust to get back into it. I cannot stress enough how terrible this switch back and forth was.

Anna, I know you go to Barnes and Noble in Destin and sign copies of books there. I’ll be on the lookout for a signed hardback copy of Joyride on June 2nd because this book is superb.

Gable by Harper Bentley BOOK BLITZ

Title: Gable (The Powers That Be #1)
Author: Harper Bentley
Release Date: Dec 31, 2014
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Gable Powers had all the makings of everything my father had ever warned me about: a reputation that was anything but stellar, a dirty mouth that had me shivering at the things he uttered in my ear, and a body (oh, God, that body) that was covered in tattoos, all of which added up to a solid ten-point-oh on the bad-boy scale.

The first time I met him, I instantly loathed him.

The second time was even worse.

He was a jerk. He was an ass.

He had secrets.

He was nothing I thought I ever wanted.

So why couldn’t I resist him?

New adult. Not recommended for readers under 17.

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“I miss the white outfit,” he stated then put his hands on my hips, moving them down to where his fingers skimmed along the hem of my shorts then started moving them slowly back toward my bottom. “But these hot pink shorts make you look completely fuckable too.”

That brought me out of my stupor and I spun around, glaring up at him. “You can’t talk to me like that!” I hissed under my breath, glancing around self-consciously to make sure no one was watching our exchange.

He peered down at my chest where my nipples were standing at full attention under my t-shirt. “From the looks of it, I think you like me talking to you like that.” Then he leaned in closer. “What’s the matter? Never been talked dirty to before, Priss?” When he pulled back, I saw that the half grin was now going strong and his luminous brown eyes were dancing with humor at his having riled me.

Holy hell.

As I kept glowering at him, having no response to that, I noticed a girl next to us gawking at us, and embarrassed, I smiled shyly at her, tucking a piece of hair behind my ear, trying to act normal. When she turned away, I whisper-hissed at him, “Are you kidding me right now? Just who do you think you are?”

He bent again to get close to my ear. “I’m the guy who’ll have you coming hard before the semester’s over,” he answered evenly, his eyes shimmering with cockiness as they burned into mine when he stood straight again.

Mesmerized, I gazed back at him, lost in him, wanting what he was selling, God, how did he do that, until it hit me that I should be offended by his boldness and I suddenly frowned. “What is your deal?” I screeched making several students look at me and felt my face burning even hotter than it already was at his inappropriate comments. I turned to get away from him mumbling, “Oh, my God,” but he grabbed me by the arm pulling me in close.

“You don’t  have to call me God. Gable works, but I’m sure I’ll be making you scream both soon,” he whispered close to my ear.

I pushed against his chest (of course he didn’t budge at all) and jerked my arm from his grasp with a scowl then moved as far away from him as I could, going to the back of the line to wait until he left. Standing there, I closed my eyes trying to get a hold of myself but could still see his seductive gaze searing into mine as he smirked while saying those things to me, as if he was so confident that they’d happen regardless of what I had to say about it.

And the really bad thing about it? As I stood there, a complete emotional mess from what’d just happened, I found I actually wanted those things to happen, which served to embarrass me even more not to mention just totally baffle me. I mean, I’d only slept with one guy, Hayden, my first and only boyfriend, and that’d been after we’d dated for almost a year so it wasn’t like I got around much, so what was wrong with me that I was all in for having sex with someone I barely knew? Someone who’d been an ass to me from day one. Someone who obviously had way more experience than I had.

As I stood behind everyone, I swallowed thickly, my cheeks still on fire, wondering who the hell I was, and when I moved my eyes to the front I saw Gable write his person’s number down in his notebook, smile at a girl who was gazing up at him like he was a damned rock star then he left without even a glance back at me.

When I finally got to the front, I wrote my person’s number down quickly and got the heck out of there because a few people were still watching me curiously. As I walked outside the building, I cautiously surveyed the area making sure Gable hadn’t hung around wanting to torment me some more but saw that he was off to my right talking to his friend, Mr. Tactful, and they were near the parking lot which was a good twenty yards away. I also saw that Gable was smoking. Well, total turnoff right there. Good. At least he had something about him that repulsed me (other than his cocky attitude, that is), and when I saw the coast was clear, I let out the breath I was holding, relief flooding over me along with a bit of disappointment at his unhealthy habit, and headed away in the opposite direction from him, going to my next class.

Harper Bentley has taught high school English for 22 years. Although she’s managed to maintain her sanity regardless of her career choice, jumping into the world of publishing her own books goes to show that she might be closer to the ledge than was previously thought.

After traveling the nation in her younger years as a military brat, having lived in Alaska, Washington State and California, she now resides in Oklahoma with her teenage daughter, two dogs and one cat, happily writing stories that she hopes her readers will enjoy.

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White Hot Kiss

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m a really tough reviewer right? I don’t give out 4 or 5 stars unless I really like something and would recommend it to others. So you know that when you read a 4 or 5 star review from me that I think it’s good, right? This is not one of those times. Sorry everyone, but I pulled this 4 star rating out of my butt because I’m honestly not all that sure how to rate this book.

Overall, I enjoyed it. The story was fun, the plot moved fast enough, and let’s be honest… the reason we all read Jennifer Armentrout books is for her relationships. Layla’s relationship with Roth was ace. But as I sat down to write this review, I realized I had more to say about what I hated than what I liked. SO THAT’S WHAT YOU GET, FRIENDS!

1. The mythology of White Hot Kiss is too complicated and not well explained. There seem to be an infinite number of demons. Every demon Layla encounters is different. I felt uninitiated, like I was never going to know the rules of the book. Roth seems to have an infinite number of powers that pop up whenever convenient.It would be convenient for Roth to be able to make he and Layla invisible here so he suddenly is able to do that.

2. There were some continuity issues for me. I didn’t think Armentrout was always clear as to what her characters were doing or what was happening in the book. All of a sudden I’ll be like “did Roth leave? I guess so” or “are they sitting next to each other? It didn’t say they are, but they have to be.”

3. Layla is a super weak female heroine. I kept hoping Armentrout would let her grow a pair, but she’s yet to really do so. Layla is a total damsel in distress at all times and it makes me crazy. This is the excerpt that really drove home how ditzy and incapable of anything Armentrout made her: “Nothing stood out more than a 1969 cherry-red impala. He’d let me drive it once, on my sixteenth birthday. Driving proved to be too much with all of the shimmery souls serving as an epix distraction. I’d rear-ended a police cruiser. I hadn’t gotten behind a wheel since. Yes, that’s right pretty things distract Layla so much that she cannot drive.

She also apologizes to men who don’t respect her constantly. Zayne is almost always a condescending douche-nozzle who treats he like a child. AND he isn’t even loyal. So why are you apologizing to him for things that are only sort of your fault? It was very hard to read these parts without throwing my kindle across the room. Layla was always being stomped on and manipulated by men who just want to use her.

4. Zayne = winter mint, Roth = sweet musk, Allison = nauseated

In conclusion, I’m not all that sure why I gave this 5 stars. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. I think it’s the fact that I haven’t read and REALLY good books lately so it’s skewing my rating systen. Oh well… Sorry, not sorry.

Roomies

RoomiesRoomies by Lindy Zart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am giving this 4 stars because I 4 stars liked it. It was a fun read. If I gave this book a star rating based on actual reasons I would probably give it a 2, but I’m not because I’m the boss of this shit.

Kennedy is the most annoying, obnoxious main character I have ever encountered. She’s THE WORST. I hated her so much that I almost liked her. I was definitely rooting for her to get a great guy because, let’s be honest, a guy who actually likes her and is great like Graham is probably not going to come around again. Kennedy needed to dial it back a couple of notches.

The love triangle was stupid. It was obvious the whole time who she was going to choose- which is probably the only reason I could tolerate it at all.

Additionally, I cannot believe that this is how adults act. These characters are 23-27 and act like they’re in high school. The will they/won’t they drags out for nearly the entire book because 1) everyone is an idiot who can’t read social cues and body language and take hints 2)won’t just say what they mean. In real life, this book would have been over in like 3 chapters.

The author misused “moot point” 3 times. Granted, this is a common mistake, buttttttt… Am I an asshole because I want authors to know what words mean?

Kennedy is annoying as all get out, but she’s fracking hilarious. She had me laughing over and over again.

There’s a lot of issues with this book and a lot of it really peeved me, but it’s super fun and I read it in one sitting. So 4 stars because I liked you, not because you deserve them!

One more thing, if you’re reading this and waiting for Graham and Kennedy to finally just do it, don’t hold your breath. It doesn’t ever happen. I’m pretty pissed at Zart for never giving me the sexy sex scene I was waiting for!

R.S. Grey – The Design COVER REVEAL!

Title: The Design
Author: R.S. Grey
Release Date: March 1, 2015
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Five minutes until the interview begins.
 
Fresh on the heels of her college graduation, Cameron Heart has landed an interview at a prestigious architecture firm.

Four minutes until the interview. 

She knows she’s only there because the owner, Grayson Cole, is her older sister’s friend.

Three minutes. 

For the last seven years, Grayson has been the most intimidating man Cammie has ever had the pleasure, or displeasure, of being around.

Two Minutes. 

But the job opportunity is too good to pass up. So, Cammie will have to ignore the fact that Grayson is handsome enough to have his own national holiday. 

One. 

After all, she shouldn’t feel that way about her new boss. And, he will be her new boss.

“I’m not scared of you,” I said with a confident smile.
“Perhaps we should fix that, Ms. Heart. Close the door.”

I had a feeling that once I left his office, I’d never hear him speak of it again. I’d probably convince myself that I’d made the whole thing up in a weeks’ time.

“And Cameron,” he spoke, forcing me to pause as my hand hit the door knob. I turned my head to look back at him, hope brimming through every pore. His eyes locked with mine as he continued, “It’s not Grayson. It’s Mr. Cole. I’m not your friend while you’re here.”

I bristled at his reprimand. There he was. The formal prick. He wanted to put me in my place, but I knew his secret now. You can’t just turn attraction off like a light switch. I may have had torn tights and smudged make-up, but I was the same girl I’d been for the last twenty-two years. Which meant, deep down, Grayson was still attracted to me. A small smirk unfolded across my lips as I realized the power that knowledge gave me.

“And what about when I’m not here?” I asked, tilting my head to the side and staring into his blue eyes with more confidence than I’d felt all morning.

I am a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, black labs, and cold weather. Seriously, if I had it my way, I would be curled up on the couch with all of those things… everyday.

I live in Texas where I spend my free time writing and reading. My favorite authors include Mindy Kaling & Jonathan Safran Foer. I'm a comedy geek and love all things "funny". Women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling are definitely the biggest inspirations for my writing, though I think my work tends to skew a bit smuttier than theirs.

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